ANAS’ MODUS OPERANDI: cui bono in perspective
"There is no point in doing journalism that doesn't benefit the society. I don't do journalism for the critics, I do it for the people", Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
He has been tagged as the chameleon of investigative journalism. His works traverse national boundaries and he has won international commendation for being the dreaded yet one of the most seasoned investigative journalists of contemporary times. President Obama has described him as a courageous journalist who risks his life to portray the truth. Indeed, the test of how risky he places his own life is evidenced in the life-threatening roles he plays just so he can adduce facts to dispel perception and cause same to be evidenced as truth. His kind of journalism is one that delves into the sanctity of society and reveals the ills that throbs the hearts of evil men and women. Through his Tiger Eyes PI, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has succeeded in painting the canvas of society with the same brush, yet the pictorial and video images revealed have always been shockingly different!
The question regarding the future of Anas’ modus operandi was aptly answered during his TED presentation when he indicated that his kind of journalism will not stop as he believes that when evil men destroy; good men must build. This affirms the fact that Anas is ever resolute in his cause; baring the dangers he has subjected himself; and perhaps his family to. His very person is that of a disguise whilst isolating himself from the comfort of society. It is shocking to see a young man full of life living in a superficial cage where the very ordinary things of life are not his preserve. He walks in constant denial of the pleasantries of youthful exuberance! Total denial of the norm for a man of his age cannot be a matter of joy but one that only those who seek the interest of the larger society can venture and keep as their passion. That must be a scary thing to do and a path reserved for the few who dream of a good society where rule of law thrives and corruption made an expensive enterprise.
Whilst conceding that Anas is a big name in Ghana, Kwesi Pratt has indicated that when journalists begin to play James Bond, then it is troubling. In what was supposed to have been definitive rebuttal to the senior journalist’s disputant remarks, Anas was however full of praises for Kwesi Pratt; describing him as one whose support for his works was unequivocal. Whilst the likes of Kwesi Pratt and many other journalists and social commentators disprove of Anas’ modus operandi, there are those who look at the good of his works and shower him commendation and encourage him to keep up with his good works; though they concede it is a life-threatening vocation.
In the wake of Anas’ latest work - GHANA IN THE EYES OF GOD: Epic of Injustice which reveals harrowing video footages of judicial corruption in Ghana, there has been a lot of public discourses of the issues surrounding the ground-breaking investigation. Whilst some have attacked his style of investigations and have placed him on the chopping board of verbal condemnation, others have praised him for his efforts. One of such scholarly works that supports Anas’ latest work in the legal remit is that by the renowned law professor, Mike Oquaye whose compelling article titled “ISSUES OF JUSTICE AND JUDICIAL CORRUPTION” as published on myjoyonline.com deserves repeated reading. In the said piece, the good professor has effortlessly justified the very essence of Anas’ kind of investigative journalism and argues strongly “that where the hands of the investigator are clean and his thoughts are seen as pure, no legal subterfuge should be allowed to grind the wheel of justice to an abortive halt”. Professor Mike Oquaye’s caveat that his article is apolitical and an academic exercise is justifiably so given the objectivity and legally binding arguments he has espoused in his piece. As a non-legal mind, I share in his position and the many others who hold the view that Anas must not suffer condemnation for his modus operandi relative to his style of investigations. Approving of the arguments as held by the renowned law professor, may I add a cardinal legal-moral remit referred to as cui bono to the discourse? Yes, cui bono!
I respond to those who condemn Anas’ style of journalism with the question; cui bono? This Latin-worded principle finds expression in English as; ‘to whose benefit’? This necessary reasoning conduit should cause those bastardizing Anas to reason along the path of social good versus social evil. Marcus Tullius Cicero, the defense lawyer for Sextus Roscius - the man accused of murdering his own father Sextus Roscius of Ameria intimated during the trial that the best way to solve a crime lies in just two words; cui bono and so it was the only tool that settled the matter of the murder trial in that epic story of Julius Caesar’s Murder in Rome. The principle of cui bono is relevant in determining the guilt of Anas and that is what we must advance in the matter of his style of journalism relative to the corruption scandal in Ghana’s judiciary. In cross examining Magnus who is the official agent of Chrysogonus, the young lawyer Ceciro whose handling of this trial is his first ever major ligation succinctly advances the cause of cui bono with such soundness of case thus giving the murder trial the twist it deserves to cause the effect of justice attained. Chrysogonus plots to have elder Sextus Roscius, who is the beneficiary of his father’s property jail and the state confiscates his properties. Eventually, Chrysogonus through his agent Magnus pays a pittance of 2,630 for a land worth millions during state auction of the said properties.
It is imperative to underscore that the strongman Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus in the story referenced above is not only corrupt but has a reputation of being behind the wrongful seizure of properties belonging to the weak and poor persons in Rome and on this occasion, it is Magnus and Capito through whom he peddles his hideous crime. In a direct speech to the terror Chrysogonus, lawyer Ceciro makes the statement that “you rob a man; want him dead and when he refuses to be murdered; you get this court to kill him instead. You really have such power in a Roman Court”! And turning to the eminent judges of the court, Ceciro points out to them that Chrysogonus believes that he could control each one of them and their noble independent minds.
In his closing remarks, Ceciro rides on cui bono and makes a compelling case which eventually appeals to the conscience of the judges; the society and the very vulnerable poor of Rome whose lot is bound to fall at the feet of Chrysogonus should the judges convict the innocent accused murderer. Ceciro builds a moral-legal argument when he states that Rome is unsafe should the evil men like Chrysogonus through his agents Magnus and Capito be allowed to go free. He indicates that freeing the evil men will endanger the lives and properties of all men including the judges and the poor people of Rome. Ceciro’s legal expertise reaches epicentre when he singles out each one of the entire audience and the judges and makes it clear that none is safe in a world where the likes of Chrysogonus thrives and flourishes in their trade of thievery and injustice. Eventually, poor Sextus Roscius is freed as a vote of not guilty becomes the verdict of the murder trial and the name of Chrysogonus disappears from historical records. The moral of this epic story is that good men must be protected from the claws of evil hands. All men, whose intent, actions and inclinations are fashioned out to rape the nations and her poor people, must not be tolerated. And when Anas, just like lawyer Ceciro defies threats on his life to ensure that justice is served on the innocence, then we owe him commendation, protection and encouragement.
It must be said that if Anas has ever erred in life, then it is that he has erred to sacrifice his freedom for the good of humanity? Anas having submitted himself to this cause has placed his life in great danger such that no quantum of appeasement can compensate for this momentous sacrifice. But he takes pride in cui bono and lives to its core principles. As a people, we must question Anas’ modus operandi in the terms of cui bono and then we will realise that he is simply a favour to justice.
There is no doubt that cui bono is the angle with which we must examine Anas’ kind of journalism. Since society is the overall beneficiary of what Anas does, it needs restating that his methodology thrives in law as ably adduced in Professor Oquaye’s article. The point of emphasis is that we need the likes of Anas to purge the society from the ills of men and women. Anas has sold his freedom just so we can clean up the mess and the least we can do in approbation to his work is a show of gratitude and not chastisement. For those who think Anas does not need state protection, they must ask the question cui bono? Has Anas himself not endangered his very life by threading on this rather dangerous path of becoming a thorn in the flesh of corrupt officials? Who in his pleasurable moments in life will consign himself to the wearing of masks except Anas but who benefits from his investigations if not the larger society of which he is just a minute member yet making tremendous impact? The law is for the good of society and not the evil men and women that live in it. Indeed when evil men destroy, good men like Anas must build it. Cui bono!!
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The writer is a leadership, governance and social justice activist.
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